Category

Creative

Kids Talk About Christmas

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I love Christmas time. But I get caught up in the busyness of all that needs to happen this time of year. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one.

This year, I’ve done two things that have helped me not get lost in the busyness as much.

The first thing we did was take my 15 month old daughter to the mall and pick up a tag to get a child in need a Christmas gift. There was something special about explaining to my daughter that we are helping someone just because we can and it would be special for them, even though we will never meet this person.

Sophia Pick a Gift

The other thing that helped me focus on the Christmas season was shooting a short piece with preschool kids talking about Christmas. It was kinda a last minute project that I rushed through. After it was done, I watched it through and remembered the magic of the season as the kids told the Christmas story.

Check out what the kids had to say!

And don’t forget the reason for this crazy season!

Busy Learning & Enjoying My Family

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It’s been over four months without a blog post. Oh well.

Over the past couple months, I’ve been kept really busy with projects and my family. I mean, a 15 month old darling daughter comes before sharing with you. Sorry! But in all seriousness, I love writing and sharing with you.

However, I have shot and edited two weddings over the last few months as well; and both with Final Cut Pro X. I learned a ton about how it works and it’s quirks. It’s definitely not the right tool for every project, but great for some.

For the second wedding, I just completed the montage. I had a ton of fun and learned a ton from this one. I’d say it’s not too bad for the second wedding I’ve done with a DSLR!

Check it out and tell me what you think!

Don’t Learn by Experience Alone

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Learning by experience is one of the best ways to learn, in my opinion. You have the opportunity to see and feel how things work. You fail and you get better from it. But if that’s the only way you learn, you are missing out! I’ve found that reading books or articles and watching videos about the topic I am learning not only teaches me great new things, but it helps me understand and explain things I learned from experience.

I’d suggest finding a community online that focuses on your craft. Reading books can be an excellent way to learn. This week, grab a new book or find some great articles online that add to your knowledge.

Online DSLR/Video Community Suggestions

Books: My Current Reading List

Final Cut Pro X: First Impressions

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I’ve abstained from any commentary on the new Final Cut Pro for about a month. I figured that there were enough people on the internet talking about it that you didn’t need one more article (and I’ve been too busy being dad and working to write).

However, I figure it’s time I share my experience. I bought Final Cut Pro X the week it came out—I think a couple days after the release. I had a corporate interview project to do, so I decided to take FCPX for a spin.

First off, the ability to import footage from my Canon T2i/550D and start working without transcoding or rendering was phenomenal! Also, I was able to apply a little color correction and played it back smoothly without rendering. The rendering and transcode time alone saved me almost the cost of the software. Seriously. I know… You could already do that with Premiere Pro. But that’s not in my price range.

The second time-saving feature that I loved was the synchronization feature. It basically analyzes the waveforms and syncs the files (here’s a tutorial to sync audio in FCPX). Super nice when you are using a dual audio system (in camera and external recorder) and have a ton of takes to sync. Before, I’ve used Singular Software’s DualEyes to sync files, but I never wanted to pay $150 for that feature. Now, that’s half the price of Final Cut.

Lessons Learned From Family Photos

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Last weekend, I had the opportunity to take some photos of one a friend’s family. They are expecting their second child in August and wanted to get some photos of the prego belly and the family together. And they asked me to do it for them. I was flattered and scared.

My wife and I scouted the location before the family arrived and we were able to get some pretty decent pictures. By the end of the relatively short shoot, I was extremely exhausted and learned a few lessons.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. I need to take extra care to hit the focus right on. That may mean stopping down a bit to help. Especially when shooting a 2.5 year old.
  2. Don’t forget to pay attention to exposure AND composition. At a certain point in the shoot, I forgot to double check my exposure settings when I was worried about getting my composition right. Both are equally important.
  3. Posing people is hard. And I need to learn how to pose subjects and clearly communicate to subjects what to do.
  4. Eat before a shoot. I should have had dinner before, but got too busy. Having a better blood sugar level would have helped calm me down and have a clearer head about me.

All in all, it was a fun to experience my first family photo session. Here is a little peak at a few of the photos.

Using What You’ve Got

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I recently had a revelation about filming and gear. It’s easy for us to get caught up with gear lust—always wanting and needing the another piece of equipment. Sure, there are things could always add or help with your production. But don’t let the equipment you don’t have keep you from trying to produce good work. You’ve got to start working with what you’ve got.

This is what I did this week and how I worked with what I had available (Note: Click on the thumbnail image for a look at my setup).

I had a couple interviews this week and I was a one man, one camera outfit. To make it easier, I wanted to have an external monitor set up so I could sit in a spot to better engage with the interviewee while still keeping my eye on what I was recording. I could have complained about not having an HDMI monitor (~$400). Instead, I used a small HDMI cable out of the camera connected to an old DVI computer with an adapter (costs less than $3.00 from Monoprice.com). It accomplished the purpose and I used what I had around.